An Ad with an Appeal: Ahead of Crucial Bypolls, Rebellion in the Ranks Leaves Karnataka BJP Red-Faced
The move to accommodate the disqualified Congress-JD(S) MLAs has led to a rebellion in the BJP, with all those candidates who had been defeated by the former in the last Assembly elections angry with the top brass.
Bengaluru: In what was one of its most embarrassing moments ahead of the crucial by-elections to 15 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saw further dissent expressed at an event attended by its state president Nalin Kumar Kateel here on Thursday.
Kateel, who addressed a party workers' meeting at Maski, was greeted with an advertisement by BJP workers published in a local evening paper 'Benki Belaku' urging him to desist from fielding disqualified MLA Pratapgouda Patil as the party candidate.
Patil was among the 17 legislators from the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) who had resigned from the Assembly in June to bring down the coalition government in Karnataka. The lawmakers were disqualified by the then Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar — a decision that has been challenged before the Supreme Court and is currently pending.
Elections to these constituencies are scheduled for December 5 and the BJP has said it will field all the MLAs who had resigned to facilitate its government to come to power.
The move to accommodate the disqualified MLAs has led to a rebellion in the BJP, with all the party candidates who had been defeated by the former in the last Assembly elections angry with the top brass.
In Maski, an Assembly constituency in Raichur district, R Basavanagouda Turvihal's supporters published an advertisement in the local evening publication. It carried a big picture of Turvihal with an appeal to Kateel to not sideline a true and disciplined worker of the party.
The advertisement that was published in a local daily in Maski.
The appeal in Kannada read, “We, the BJP workers of Maski constituency, have one appeal to you (Kateel): In the last election, R Basavanagouda Turvihal was defeated by merely 213 votes. We must not forget that he is a staunch and disciplined worker of the BJP. He had started off his activism with the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the BJP's student wing) and was instrumental in forming the BJP's cadre base in Maski and strengthening the party. Turvihal and his family's daily toil for the party is known to everyone. He has worked to ensure that all central government schemes reach every home.”
The appeal also tried to dissuade the party leadership from fielding Patil as the candidate on another ground.
“The disqualified MLA Pratapgouda Patil has harassed all party workers for the last 10 years and he has come before you now. You are aware that there has, for long, been an allegation that he had created 546 fake voters and won the last election only on the basis of these fake voters and defeated our candidate. We want to tell you, it is not right to project such a man from a party such as ours where discipline is respected above all else.”
The advertisement ends with a line welcoming Kateel to the constituency and thanking him for the visit.
Last week, in an attempt to stem rebellion of this kind, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had appointed many of these defeated candidates to various state-run boards and corporations, including bestowing ministerial rank on these postings.
But many of them, including Turvihal, have refused to take charge of the new posts in the hope of getting party tickets for the upcoming by-elections.
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